As will be seen from this issue of the Newsletter, the Society is humming with activities this autumn. Help and support is needed for a variety of projects from fund-raising to finds-processing. Whatever your interests, your talent, flair and enthusiasm is required and a Research Tea on Sunday afternoon, 20 November has been specially arranged to enable members to find out about the various current projects (full details elsewhere in this Newsletter).
Lectures at Hendon Library
4 October: don’t forget the first lecture of the season by Dr Richard Reece, who will be talking about “The history and Archaeology of Iona.”
1 November: “Silchester — the Investigation of a Roman town”. Silchester, built by the Romans, and overlapping the capital of the Atrebates tribe, can be called “the town that died”. It was extensively excavated between 1890-1909, but no buildings are visible today. The town walls are in the care of the D.O.E., and Dr Mike Fulford, of Reading University, who will be our speaker, has recently been engaged in the excavation of the West Gate of the town, undertaken as part of a plan to stabilise the walls.
West Heath Symposium Saturday, 15th October – 2-6 pm.
The symposium will take place at Bigwood House, Bigwood Road, Hampstead Garden Suburb, NW11.
The excavation of the West Heath Mesolithic site has involved a lot of work by many members and it is hoped that as many members as possible will come and hear about it on 15 October.
Desmond Collins will chair the meeting and will outline the stages of the excavation; Maureen Girling and, it is hoped, James Greig, will describe the exciting environmental evidence; members will expatiate on such subjects as postholes, burnt flint, problems of surveying, site hut erection, the solitary hairy bee and many more topics! The finds will be on show and Peter Favel-Clinch’s superb slides will make it all come alive.
Do come! It is YOUR dig and YOUR Society and it has already aroused a great deal of interest. (There is, moreover a lavish tea, price 25p!) Space is limited, so applied AT ONCE to Dorothy Newbury for your ticket.
An appeal by Paddy Musgrove.
When HADAS embarked on a survey of the boundaries of the ancient parishes now included in the modern Borough of Barnet, it was obvious that it would be a long-term project. Since the publication of a comprehensive progress report in the January, 1976 Newsletter, further work has been carried out, notably along the Finchley — Friern Barnet boundary. Progress, however, has been slow, partly because of a shortage of volunteers to search out boundary stones on the ground, but largely through lack of adequate organisation to co-ordinate the work of individuals and institute effective central record-keeping.
Year by year these boundary stones or disappearing. As the old boundaries are no longer of administrative importance, we can expect the tempo of destruction to increase. With the growth in membership of HADAS, there must be one or more members who would be able to take on the very important, but not unduly demanding, role of co-ordinator.
No specialist archaeological knowledge is involved. A system of work and record keeping has already been evolved and this can be quickly explained to anyone taking on the function of co-ordinator. Although it is vital work, it can be done in one’s own home and at one’s own pace. CAN YOU VOLUNTEER? If so, please contact Brigid Grafton Green.
St. James the Great, Friern Barnet
Ann Trewick as arranged to show the details and some of the finds from the excavation at an Art and Crafts Exhibition organised by parishioners to help raise funds for the new church hall. Pop in and see them at 23, Ravensdale Avenue, Finchley, N12 between 2.00p.m. and 5.00p.m. on Saturday 22 October. A small entrance fee will be charged.
WHAT DID YOU DO FOR THE JUBILEE?
HADAS undercover agent, Joanna Wade, currently working at the Museum of London before going up to Cambridge, tells us that the Museum is busy collecting material for the historians of the future and would like to receive any accounts, in prose or poetry, recalling what you, your family, your street or your firm did to celebrate the Jubilee. Please write to the Museum of London, London Wall, EC2Y 5HN.
The Medieval Banquet
140 members will be coming to the Christmas revelry at the Old Palace, Hatfield on 7 December, but there is still room for more. Contact Dorothy Newbury if you would like to come.
Over the Sea to ?
Plans are afoot for a 7-day trip to Orkney in July, 1978 in place of our autumn weekend. If the arrangements prove successful, further details will be announced in the New Year.
The Treasurer does not want to waste 124 stamps writing to the members who have not yet paid their subscriptions! A reminder to those defaulting members:
Full membership – £2.00
Under-18 – £1.00
Over-60 – £1.00
Family Membership: – first member – £2
– additional members £1 each
Send to Jeremy Clynes.
FUND-RAISING ** BOOK-SALE ** FUND-RAISING
Book sale: Saturday 22 October, 10.00a.m. to 12 noon at the Teahouse, Northway, NW11. Entrance fee: £0.15 including coffee and biscuits.
(Underground to Golders Green — from there, minibus to Central Square.)
DONATIONS — books, paperbacks or magazines — required, but please be sure to deliver them BEFORE THE DAY OF THE SALE, to enable them to be sorted and priced.
CONTACT — any of the following as soon as possible:
Daphne Lorimer, Brigid Grafton Green or Helen Gordon.
Any member who would like to use books left unsold for their own charity or has any queries, please contact Christine Arnott before 22 October.
Ideas for Christmas Presents
Enclosed with this Newsletter is the latest list of HADAS publications, any (or your) of which would make ideal Christmas presents. The full range of Shire Publications are also available and may be ordered, even if not listed, on the order form provided.
West Heath Plans
Digging will continue at West Heath until the trenches are finished or the weather breaks. It will not be possible to dig on dates on which other HADAS activities have been arranged (i.e. Saturday 15 October — symposium; Saturday 22 October — book sale). Digging will, however, take place on Saturday 29 October at the same time as the surveying course. If in doubt, telephone Daphne Lorimer or Brigid Grafton Green.
Saturday 29 October and 5 November, 10.00a.m.-12.00p.m.
Surveying courses will be held at West Heath where HADAS Hon. Member, Barrie Martin, will give a refresher course to last year’s surveying team and at the same time undertake a fresh survey of the site. He will also initiate a few new members into the arts of surveying. Numbers must, of necessity, be limited so please contact Daphne Lorimer if you wish to come along.
Processing at the Teahouse
This autumn two further HADAS processing weekends will take place at the Teahouse, Northway, Hampstead Garden Suburb, on November 12/13 and November 19/20, from 10.00a.m.-5.00p.m. each day.
All members are cordially invited to come along and help. Several activities are planned, so they should be something for all tastes.
Finds from West Heath (where this season, although shorter than that of 1976, is providing even more material) will be studied; there will be further work on clay tobacco pipes, pottery and glass from the Church Terrace and Burroughs Gardens sites; and it is hoped also to do some documentary work on the Society’s maps and index of findspots and sites in the Borough of Barnet; and on the tombstone index which we have been compiling, as a long-term a project, for Hendon St. Mary’s churchyard.
Not an investigation into how many spoonfuls go into a pot but an afternoon on which members can learn about the many projects which HADAS undertakes in the winter months. From to 2.30 to 4.30 p.m. on Saturday 20 November at the Teahouse, Northway, NW11 members who are in charge of projects will be there to talk about them and to show the results so far. New volunteers are needed for all projects, so do come along and see how you can help. This will be a real opportunity for members who have joined in the last year or so to find out what research is going on.
Current projects include:
PARISH BOUNDARY SURVEY (as mentioned elsewhere in this Newsletter, volunteers are needed both on the administrative side and for field work). Paddy Musgrove will tell you all about it.
EDGWARE. A study of the district both from documentary sources and in the field. Sheila Woodward has been ploughing a lone furrow for the last year or so (helped, of course, by some HADAS field-walking) and she would be glad of some help.
ST. JAMES THE GREAT, FRIERN BARNET. The Rector, Canon Norman Gilmore (who is an Hon. member of HADAS), has kindly agreed that the Society should record of the tombstones in this historic churchyard. The project — a long-term one which may take several years to complete — will start later this year. And Trewick is in charge.
HISTORY OF NONCONFORMIST CHURCHES IN THE BOROUGH. George Ingram has been steadily amassing information, including — where they exist — copies of Church guides. He could have, however, do with some help, because there are a fair number of churches and some of them are disappearing unreported.
DISSENTERS BURIAL GROUND, TOTTERIDGE. Here HADAS Friars already recorded and photographed the graves, but researchers are needed to dig out, from libraries and other sources, information about their families or individuals who were buried there. The co-ordinator is Daphne Lorimer.
RESISTIVITY SURVEY. Raymond Lowe is directing operations for the Society and will explain what is involved.
By special correspondent: Daphne Lorimer.
Autumn is here and with the season of mists comes the HADAS weekend. On Friday, 23 September, an intrepid band of 52 under the expert leadership of Dorothy Newbury, sallied forth for three days exploration of Bristol, the Mendips and the land of the Silures.
On arrival, Dr Peter Fowler showed members the Mendips — the key to hose Archaeology lies in its geological formation. This ranges from the Somerset levels (5 ft below sea level) through the Carboniferous limestone region to the Highland scenery of the Old Red Sandstone of Blackdown (1,000 O.D.). Only in the last 50 years has the relationship between the sea level and the land been stabilised by the building of a sea wall. Previously, most of the valley was waterlogged and boats are reputed to have come up river as far as Cadbury Congressbury.
For two and a half gruelling miles, members charged over hill and dale; they scaled the heights of Dolbury Hill Fort, walked round the 20 ft. high ramparts and peered through the mist at the distant hill forts of Banwell, Brean Down, Worbury and Breedon Hill; they saw Romano-British field systems, learnt of the relationships between Roman Villa estates, ecclesiastical parishes and Saxon charters. They peered down Read’s cavern — a fascinating hole formed by surface water erosion where the carboniferous limestone meets the Old Red Sandstone. The cave had been in occupation as late as the nineteenth century (a very desirable residence!) Members then scaled a near-vertical slope by judicious pushing and pulling and the thought that the coach was near at hand. Passing Aveline’s Hole (late Palaeolothic) and on to Wookey Hole, where those who braved the catwalks of the new cavernous were richly rewarded.
Charterhouse lead mines gave a fascinating glimpse into Roman, mediaeval and nineteenth-century mineral workings. (Thereafter members were knowledge of the spotting gruffies and bell pits from the coach windows). A complete Roman Town lies frozen beneath the fields at Charterhouse, since no soil must be disturbed by farmer or archaeologist for fear of lead polluting the water supply.
Friday ended with a privilege visit to Bristol Museum, opened specially for HADAS by the curator, Mr Michael Ponsford, who showed members behind the scenes and unveiled a mummy for their delectation.
On Saturday Mr Peter Price led the expedition over the Severn Bridge to South Wales. The Oppidum of Venta Silurium at Caerwent was probably built on the foundation of a Roman Fort and presents the most complete section of a Roman walled town to be seen in Britain. Memorable features include the South Wall, Bowed to accommodate an existing building; the abutting bastions which could never have withstood the recall of a ballista; the varying workmanship of the different sections of herringbone masonry; rows of shops and the Romano-Celtic Temple with unusual bastions at each corner.
Isca, the Roman legionary fortress at Caerleon, was built in 75 AD to replace a fortress in Ust. It is the perfect example of precise Roman military planning — so much so, that the straight lines of the barrack buildings, kitchens, latrines, parade ground and amphitheatre almost echoed with ministry bustle. The Museum, however, provided in the human touch in the pathetically poorly carved memorial tablets — the loving tributes from wives and children of dead soldiers.
Raglan Castle, built in 1431, was the next port of call. Here members admired the double portcullis counterbalanced to provide an “airlock” type of entry; the huge fireplace in the great hall with its bifurcating flue passing on either side of the magnificent window above; the patterned octagonal floor in the great tower and the huge pitched or cobbled courtyard.
At Tintern HADAS members were privileged to see not only the magnificent Abbey but also the new excavation of the Medieval Gate House area, directed by Mr Paul Courtney who had just finished excavations at the Roman Bath House seen at Caerleon. On to Chepstow with its superb castle towering above the Wye and then back to Bristol where the day ended with the walk over the Clifton suspension bridge — not illuminated as the lights had fused!
On Sunday, the morning was spent exploring Bristol on foot, guided by Mr. Ponsford. He traced the area of the old castle and the Medieval town it dominated. He explained the growth of the port and its importance as a trading centre, when the King called upon the men of Redcliffe and Temple to help cut the new channel for the River Frome (1240-1247). Members saw the last of the nine great gates into the old town; the great brass nails on which payment was made by merchants and finally, Mr Ponsfod showed the party the complicated excavations he is currently conducting as the site of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.
Sunday finished with a visit to the SS Great Britain, designed by Brunel and built between 1839 and 1843 — the first ship to be iron built and screw propelled. The great ship is gradually being restored to her former glory and it many members resolved (D.V) to make a pilgrimage to see the results 20 years hence.
This is but an idiosyncratic impression of a few of the highlights of a happy weekend and it only remains to add that the company was congenial, the food good and the organisation, as always, superb. HADAS tours has done it again!
It’s a small world
At Church Farm House Museum until 23 October, there is an excellent exhibition of model and toy soldiers, by members of the British Model Soldier Society. No exhibit is larger than 90 mm and the quality of painting is superb. For ingenuity, imagination and sheer skill in model-making, be sure to see the “Groups of the British Army in the Desert 1942” by John Sanders. All perfect historically and with the most incredible detail. Well worth a visit.
Finally – Dates to Remember
4 October: lecture at Hendon Library
15 October: West Heath Symposium at Bigwood House, NW11
22 October: at the Teahouse, Northway, NW11
29 October: surveying course at West Heath site
1 November: lecture at Hendon Library
5 November: surveying course at West Heath site
12/13 November: processing weekend at the Teahouse
19/20 November: processing weekend at the Teahouse
20 November: research tea at the Teahouse
7 December: Christmas banquet at Hatfield Old Palace